Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Killer Recipe

She watches him stir the batter, mesmerized by the clockwise rounds, the repetition. She…is…getting…sleepy… She giggles to herself. It’s like a game, her secret. He taps an egg on the countertop—one, two…splat! Goose bumps. He’s getting close.

“Thanks for letting me bake for you. I was pretty upset when you said you wouldn’t allow it. On your birthday, of all days.” He kisses her forehead. “Every princess deserves a royal cake.”

“It’s no problem.” She leans forward onto the countertop. The aroma of sweet, vanilla-kissed batter reaches her nose and makes her smile. Just like home.

“What else did your parents do for you on your birthday?” He pours flour into a separate bowl. One cup, two.

Meticulous, she notes. He won’t miss a beat.

“And the…” He searches the counter.

“Baking powder. Here you go.” She slides the Arm & Hammer box toward him. One part baking powder, two parts poison. “Remember to use extra. It’s like the secret ingredient.”

“Really…” He squints at her—flirtatious, inspecting. “I’m surprised you’d share your family recipe with me. Must mean I’m special.”

“Oh, you are.”

He adds the dry mixture to the wet, stirs again. Round one, round two, then faster. She’s like an engine, revving higher with every swipe of his spoon. Come on, faster…faster!

He licks the batter-coated spoon. “Salmonella, shmal-monella. It tastes too damn good. Want some?”

The spoon moves toward her lips, filling her breath with air of danger. She closes her eyes. “No, thanks. I’ll wait. But I loved watching you.”

His eyes say, Really?

Hers say, Yes.

She watches him. Another long, slow lick. That’s right, good. Her insides tremble, she’s about to explode. Oh, god…oh, god…oh, YES! YES! YES!

“Are you… Oh my, god, Emily, are you…?” The look in his eye moves quickly from heated to desperate. “What…wha-” He gasps, chokes.

She watches the life slip out of him like stage lights, fading to black. “Happy birthday to me…happy birthday to me…” He even looks like her foster parents. Say ‘Hi’ to them for me.

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